Are the best interests of the child no longer paramount?

family law

Marilyn Stowe writes: In this special guest post Paul Apreda of FNF Both Parents Matter Cymru gives his personal take on the recent review of Practice Direction 12J and the emotive topic of domestic violence claims in divorce proceedings. These views do not represent my own opinion nor the stance of the firm but we do believe in a giving a voice to all respectful views.

 

Stephen Cobb is a very senior Judge in the Family Court. He is a remarkable man. He recently proposed an effective end to the paramountcy principle – the overarching golden rule in family proceedings that the best interests of the child are paramount. But not content with demolishing the corner stone of the system, it looks as though he may believe the family courts can overrule the will of Parliament too.

These observations stem from Mr Justice Cobb’s review of Practice Direction 12J, which covers the ways in which family courts in England and Wales deal with cases where domestic abuse is a feature. The Practice Direction was reviewed in 2014 but organisations such as Women’s Aid and Rights of Women have continued their criticism of the Courts, insisting that they fail to protect women and children from their male abusers. Domestic Violence and abuse is of course a very serious issue. We understand that Court-appointed support agencies have identified almost 50 per cent of cases as having some allegation of abuse.

Everyone’s favourite Family Law blogger John Bolch stated that the proposals made by Justice Cobb about the way that DV should be treated in family court proceedings will be:

“……displacing the presumption that involvement of both parents in the life of the child concerned will further the child’s welfare where the involvement of a parent in a child’s life would put the child or other parent at risk of suffering harm arising from domestic violence or abuse” (my emphasis)

We know that domestic violence and abuse can include physical, emotional, psychological and also financial abuse. What the draft wording appears to suggest is that if, for example, the mother felt that it would be so traumatic to her that the Court should allow her beautiful child to see ‘that horrible evil swine of a father’ then the Court would need to act to circumvent the will of Parliament set out in statute law – i.e. the presumption that involvement of the other parent will further the child’s welfare, as set out in section 11 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

Clearly it is insufficient to be able to prove that the involvement of the ‘other parent’ would not further the welfare of the child, as the 2014 Act requires. Merely the risk of the mother (sorry, ‘controlling parent’) suffering some form of domestic abuse is sufficient to overturn the provisions of statute. Either the ‘best interests of the child’ are paramount or they aren’t. Which one is it?

In paragraph 4 of his review Mr Justice Cobb tells us that he consulted with Women’s Aid…oh and Rights of Women. He also mentions a number of feminist academics, including Professor Rosemary Hunter – who is currently the academic representative on the Family Justice Council – plus a few others, all of whom are likely to have argued from substantially the same position. Did he consider that perhaps Women’s Aid and Rights of Women are not the best qualified to represent the perspective of male victims of abuse? Did he consult with anyone about the extent to which false and spurious allegations of abuse may be a characteristic of private law proceedings? We can but speculate. The issues around false allegations have been illustrated in an earlier post on Marilyn’s blog here.

In his report The Honourable Mr Justice Cobb mentions that he looked at the Women’s Aid Nineteen Child Homicides report, yet he seems unaware of the 330 Child Homicides report, drawn from a much wider sample of cases that were subject to Serious Case Review from 2009-2015. This suggests that mothers are more likely to be culpable for child deaths than fathers. He also seems unaware of cases such as that of Samira Lupidi who was jailed for life after killing her two children while living in a refuge. According to a report in The Mirror, the Judge at her trial noted:

“Even a week [after the killing] you were telling the prison medical staff that the most important thing was that [her fiancee] was suffering.”

Furthermore he repeats the claim made by Women’s Aid that 39 per cent of women were physically abused by their former partner in the Family Court.

Lucy Reed – Chair of the Transparency Project – has questioned the reliability of the data offered by Women’s Aid. It seems that the figures were produced from a self-selected sample of Women’s Aid service users, amounting to 90 individuals.

Finally another assertion from Women’s Aid is also taken on board by Mr Justice Cobb. The much repeated problem of men continuing their abuse of women by making applications to the Family Court. Let’s just analyse that for a moment. How many applications are deemed to be an abuse in this way? Ah, we have no figures for that. Also, what criteria will be applied to determine whether these men’s applications are motivated by a desire to control, coerce or harass? Again – no information on this. What we end up with is the following in the draft Practice Direction that Courts must:

“…ensure that the court process is not used as a means to perpetuate coercion, control or harassment by an abusive parent.”

Men who turn to the Family Court as their last hope of ever seeing their children again are now ‘presumed’ to be perpetrators of abuse! Clearly the existing provisions of the Children Act 1989 (section 91, paragraph 14) appear wholly inadequate to prevent these wicked men from wasting their £215 application fee and presumably tens of thousands of pounds worth of legal fees simply to continue this terrible pattern of abuse in which they have the absolute cheek to expect to maintain a relationship with their own children.

Key questions then that remain unanswered include:

Is the Paramountcy Principle now subordinate to the ‘risk of harm’ to the controlling parent?

Can a Practice Direction overturn statute law?

We shall be waiting for clarification.

Photo by quinn.anya via Flickr under a a Creative Commons licence 

Paul Apreda

Paul Apreda is the National Manager of the Welsh charity FNF Both Parents Matter Cymru. He is also Secretary of the cross party Group in the Welsh Assembly on fathers and fatherhood.

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38 comments

The Devil's Advocate - February 3, 2017 at 3:19pm

Well expressed Paul.
Assumption is an overwhelming word in statute legislation in England and Wales and Rights seldom used to promote the reality need for that of a child. The right of a child is to have an engaged relationship with not only both parents but cohort family members. This is often forgotten to the detriment to the family our local communities and society. The factor of “umbilicitis” the psychotic imbalance of a woman to regain hormonal balance after birth is the reason in the short or long term of incapable bonding is the reason for the vast majority of the allegations of DV (especially false allegations against the other parent (91% of the time; “maleists” exist for 9% of alienation cases, ONS 2014).
In this specific discourse you neglected sadly to mention the fact of parity of responsible parenting nor did you ascribe the need of the multitude of research about supporting morally and legally such parity from the world’s leading child psychologists and psychiatrists to wit Mexico and Brazil and now Italy allude to this reality and in the former and generated such interest in a recent BBC 2 national broadcast programme declared that alienation be determined a serious criminal offence that a term of imprisonment be imposed on such criminals of up to 15 years equivalent to the Mafia Crime syndicates in that particular country who are involved in violent acts of attempted of and to second degree murder.
Strange then that such countries who have enacted the ratification of the UN Committee Convention of the Rights of the Child section 9 and 10, are seen to be those only who have a recognisable balance in pursuing what really is their rights i.e. best interest of the child). Yes identify all those in families who are abusers, but do so in a criminal court where empirical evidence is required by police investigation; for a child, surely must be the most delicate of individuals who need our material and emotional security which this country or at least in England and Wales where observation of interest groups are supported by highly acclaimed rampant feminists (91% of the time) whose views are taken and not those independent psychologists and psychiatrists whose views are supported by their acclaimed cohort professionals whose standards are balanced are unequivocal and not maintained by rabidly unbalanced investigators who may have been abused and or alienated in their lives…,
We need to evolve the methodology and love which is pervasive in those countries and societies who understand that children need all in their families and only those serving prison sentences for serious child abuse need to non engaged in their child’s life.
Or perhaps it comes down to pure practical reality. There would not be enough prisons to house such criminals in the UK.; 4 million children alienated in the last 28 years (in addition to the 13.5 million family members psychologically abused)..H’m where has this society gone wrong and it will NOT change; tinkering here and there, assuming rather than providing rights…Oh dear…gay couples can legally marry but obviously not have biological children but parents do not have the legal right to be a parent….

J. Cash - February 4, 2017 at 4:44pm

What on earth does this extremely badly written, legally incorrect and juvenile article have to do with same sex couples being able to marry?

Paul Apreda - February 6, 2017 at 11:51am

Honestly – it has nothing whatever to do with same sex marriage

Peter Anderson - February 3, 2017 at 5:11pm

This is extremely concerning – This really would dramatically increase the claims of domestic violence, the number of false claims of which are already at epidemic proportions, just so that mothers can deny children their right to be with their fathers

Paul Apreda - February 6, 2017 at 11:55am

Thanks Peter. In the President’s 16th view from his chambers he says that the Family Procedure Rules Committee meeting today (6th February) will be invited to give their views. The President then states ‘Immediately after that I will invite the Lord Chancellor to approve the amendments so that an amended PD12J can be issued as soon as possible.’
Let’s hope that the FPR Committee will prevail on the President to look at the issues much more widely before acting

J. Cash - February 3, 2017 at 5:50pm

I suspect that you may well be nuts.

Nick Langford - February 3, 2017 at 6:42pm

Paul raises some interesting points which deserve to be considered and answered. It is true that the basis of the campaign run by Women’s Aid and the Guardian is a number of individual testimonies: the evidence is anecdotal and not confirmed. While I have no doubt that some genuine victims of abuse have to endure cross examination by their abusers, there is no evidence to show how widespread this problem is. Similarly, the idea that fathers make applications merely to continue coercive control seems to me based largely on prejudice, and there is no research-based evidence to confirm it.

If accurate, Paul’s fear that Cobb’s proposals displace the paramountcy principle is extremely worrying. It has long been feared that a resident parent can prevent contact which is in the child’s best interests merely by claiming that contact will impair her ability to parent the child, but to see it enshrined in judicial guidance is alarming.

JamesB - February 5, 2017 at 11:42am

re ‘fathers make applications merely to continue coercive control seems to me based largely on prejudice’

I agree with that 100%. Objectively people apply for these because they cannot agree or accept what is on offer.

With regards to the coercive control comment, it gets on my nerves. Basically, give everything to your wife or you are an abuser is frankly a ridiculous position that the feminists take.

I am not going to libel or slag of women’s aid etc. I just think the courts and organisations need to give less and less to mothers and children and therefore more and more to the men until the birth rate of the indigenous population achieves 2 per woman of said population or above. The rest is divisive.

Respect to this site and Marilyn, at some time ‘the establishment’ need to ask what men want.

JamesB - February 5, 2017 at 11:51am

Actually, not just ask, but listen and act. Scrapping the csa / cmec / cms / cmoptions would be a start as would introducing pre nups.

Also, why has the government buried the law commission’s recommendation two years ago to introduce pre nups ?????? !!!!!! Especially when they said they would implement it.

The whole government knows better and being unrepresentative of the people thing but representative of special interest groups like lobbyists and the law society and gingerbread thing needs to change.

Implementing the findings of consultation exercises, like the one about pre nups or the one about finding the family courts losing confidence of the people is the way to go.

I did also read the article from Paul and agree with his analysis and that there is no need for more protection for women.

With regards to the paramountcy principle, well, I think it is well intentioned nonsense and needs clarifying. The judges seemed to think using “the children need” rather than “it would be better for all if we can do something which works for me” automatically loses the father the case, complete nonsense.

JamesB - February 5, 2017 at 12:32pm

Well perhaps 1.9, I was rounding up. I’m ok with a bit of immigration (both my wives are immigrants) just not millions and millions of them with open borders as per current EU policy. Plus no, I am not being a hypocrite, I do think the men and women here need to get on better rather than arguing so much.

keith - February 5, 2017 at 2:33pm

i agree with pretty much all of what you have said above.

JamesB - February 6, 2017 at 5:34pm

Thanks mate :-).

JamesB - February 6, 2017 at 9:26pm

I meant respect to Marilyn and the site for asking and publishing and (to a degree) taking what men want and say seriously unlike the rubbish family law courts we have in this jurisdiction who pay lip service, if that, to men.

Vincent McGovern - February 3, 2017 at 7:13pm

For those of us helping parents ninety five percent of which are fathers, to remain involved in their children’s lives post divorce or separation, this latest piece of crude gender discrimination makes me wonder why should we encourage fathers at all. Since alleged revisions of the Children Act in April 2014 matters have become steadily worse for children and fathers.

John Bolch (whom I usually disagree with whenever I post) wrote very well about this latest subversion of the ‘paramountcy principal’ a few blogs ago. And as a fellow officer in Families Need Fathers shared parenting charity but London based i’m appreciative of Marilyn Stowe inviting Paul Apreda (boss of Welsh Fnf) to address most excellently this new and very negative development.

The crudity of the gender discrimination amongst so much of the domestic violence industry has now become law thanks to a weak judiciary being eager to please vested interests. Personally I think many fathers would be better of bypassing the judicial process entirely and pleading with Women’s Aid and the malevolent mothers (who withhold contact because they can in the main). Performing monkey and organ grinder is the depressingly accurate comment that comes to mind.

After all, why waste huge monies and time on the middleman when the greater power is WA.

keith - February 3, 2017 at 7:23pm

Social workers have been known for a long time to falsely accuse parents of domestic abuse when its not true in order to strengthen their case for removing children for Adoption.
the family courts swallow this most of the time and rule in favor of the Local Authority.
its the family courts at fault for this crime against humanity simply because they dont function like the criminal courts where they would need to produce real evidence of such abuse. All they need to remove children for Adoption is to cry “Possible future harm” or the “child has been subjected to emotional abuse” and hey presto job done Adoption complete. sounds ridiculous but unfortunately its true.
Any solicitor or Barrister with one moral bone in their body should be writing to 10 downing street to protest about the injustices taking place and demand an investigation.

Susan - February 3, 2017 at 8:51pm

I’d be quite happy to have Dr. Andy Bilson on the Family Justice council 🙂
Like Paul Apreda I got to old age without being a feminist. I bypassed the 60’s and bra burning and even Prof. Germaine Greer. Got educated to post degree level. Had careers encompassing nursing, teaching and the criminal justice system. Was blessed with a sprinkling of grandchildren. Then thanks to an abusive, controilling, coercive individual, I was rudely shocked out of my academic and professional complacency.
As a nurse, thern a teacher, then a protector of the public, I would NEVER have believed that the UK child protection system could fail children so spectacularly – that children’s social workers, and judges could ever be complicit in the mayhem and harm that this man (like many others) caused and continues to try and cause. He says “Ah, we have no figures for that. Also, what criteria will be applied to determine whether these men’s applications are motivated by a desire to control, coerce or harass? Again – no information on this.” Well, let’s face it, what difference would that make?
They’d simply be disputed and the women called liars! I suspect Mr Apreda is like I used to be – clever, but in actuality clueless about the everyday reality of the abused and abusers. What his article does show is that Mr Apreda has clearly never been in a relationship with an abusive man! Women are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Having been victimised by abuse, even when they end the relationship FOR THE SAKE of the child/ren, TO PROTECT them, they are then victimed by the state who oftimes then proceed to take their child away from them, falsely accused of parental alienation, disguised compliance, or the risk of ‘possible future emotional harm’.
I note that Mr Apreda whilst quick to condemn women doesn’t offer any helpful ideas for moving the whole sadly sorry and tragic situation forward. Women are being dragged into the Family Courts the length and breadth of the country where they stand accused of criminal offences – the crimes of harming their children.. or at sometime in the future there might be a possibility that they might harm their children – (notice how many mights!). Based on what? More often than not, the lies of a vindictive partner who wants to punish the woman who got away from him.
So.. accused of a criiminal offence.. but wait, we’re not in the Criminal Courts here, where evidence has to be authenticated and presented, becaause you are presumed innocent until proved guilty. No, we’re in the Family Court, where no eveidence if required. And you are guilty based on another person’s lies or opinions. No solicitor to represent you and gagged under the ‘secrecy law’ from even telling anyone what is happening to you and your children, and before you know it, you’ve been judged guilty and lost your child/ren, the very one/s you tried so hard to protect, now ripped away from you till they are 18. Mr Apreda comments make a mockery of what women like Zoe Dronfield and millions of other go through. I also note that Mr Apreda does not provide any statistics to mirror how many men are killed each week from domestic violence by their female partners – aren’t the statistics there for them?
I invite Mr Apreda to use whatever ‘influence’ he has to constructively campaign for a change in legislation to make standards of evidence in the Family Courts and The Court of Protection are required to be equal to those in the Criminal Courts, and with comparable penalities where those standards are deliberately subverted by any party to the case in question, including so called ‘experts’.

Cheryl Dul - February 4, 2017 at 9:30am

I agree with everything in this post. You have to have suffered at the hands of a controlling and aggressive abuser to know how shocking you get treated in the Family Courts. It is all about exonerating / excusing / forgiving / ignoring / turning a blind eye to their behaviour because men’s rights trump the woman’s AND the child’s. q

Paul Apreda - February 6, 2017 at 12:00pm

Hi Cheryl – I’m not entirely sure I understand your comment. It’s my view that Children have Rights – Parents have Responsibilities. I cant quite see where your comment ‘Men’s rights trump those of the woman and the child’ relate to what I’ve written OR have any basis in the experience of the Family Court.

Brian Maloney - February 5, 2017 at 4:05pm

Susan, the report you refer to provided these results:

“6144 people were convicted of homicide, 297 were filicides, and 45 cases were filicide-suicides. 195 (66%) perpetrators were fathers. Mothers were more likely than fathers to have a history of mental disorder (66% v 27%) and symptoms at the time of the offence (53% v 23%), most often affective disorder. 17% of mothers had schizophrenia or other delusional disorders. Overall 8% had schizophrenia. 37% were mentally ill at the time of the offence. 20% had previously been in contact with mental health services, 12% within a year of the offence.”

So 34% of the perpetrators were the mothers. That means we cannot ignore mothers as a risk. In fact 40% of perpetrators of domestic abuse are women (ONS), so we can’t ignore them as potential perpetrators of DV, yet how many are found to have committed DV in the Family Courts each year? Not many.

You ask how many men are killed each year by their partner or former partner. The answer is about 25 compared with 90 women killed by their partner or former partner.

And the conclusion in the report you refer to said:

“In the majority of cases, mental illness was not a feature of filicide. However, young mothers and parents with severe mental illness, especially affective and personality disorder who are providing care for children, require careful monitoring by mental health and other support services. Identifying risk factors for filicide requires further research.”

So we should be particularly concerned about young mothers. This was a study over a 10 year period, similar to Women’s Aid 19 child homicides. But there were 102 children killed by their mothers during the 10 year period of this study.

[*Final paragraph removed by moderators for legal reasons]

Yvie - February 4, 2017 at 1:37pm

I don’t agree that mens rights trump the rights of the child and the woman. Far too many fathers are forced through the family courts in order to maintain contact with their own children. It should be 50/50 shared care as the default, by law, on separation. If any parent, either mother or father has a valid reason to object to shared care, then the onus should be on that parent to make their objection known to the family courts. It should never be forgotten or dismissed that the child has the right to a relationship with both parents.

Yvie - February 4, 2017 at 1:37pm

I don’t agree that mens rights trump the rights of the child and the woman. Far too many fathers are forced through the family courts in order to maintain contact with their own children. It should be 50/50 shared care as the default, by law, on separation. If any parent, either mother or father has a valid reason to object to shared care, then the onus should be on that parent to make their objection known to the family courts. It should never be forgotten or dismissed that the child has the right to a relationship with both parents.

Paul Apreda - February 6, 2017 at 12:08pm

Thanks Yvie
I’m actually not in favour of a presumption of 50/50 shared care. I think it is a very good basis for consideration – and the benefits of this are clear for men and for women from research by Swedish academics. Instead I believe that children are not ‘property’ to be apportioned like a CD collection or financial asset. That’s why we’re promoting a new vision for children post separation – ‘I’m no-one’s possession’

fnf-bpm.org.uk/image/upload/branch/cymru/I_m_no-one_s_possession_w_photo_v2.pdf

Ned - February 4, 2017 at 3:24pm

Clearly a heart-felt piece, which throws up some disturbing questions.

Whether or not all the points have a basis on fact, I have no idea, but it was a brave foray and timely too.

The continuing presumption that “men are always the evil-doers” — even by the judges — is an absurdity that needs challenging at every level. No one is denying that there is substance behind many, perhaps even most accusations of DV. But unhappy partners may have reasons for their accusations, and it may not be to serve justice well.

“Court-appointed support agencies have identified almost 50 per cent of cases as having some allegation of abuse.” Really? And how many were subsequently proved to be true? Forgive my cynicism, but when people have a reason to lie — they often will. There are obviously many reasons why litigants may lie, but it always boils down to an attempt to gain an unfair advantage.

Mr Apreda points out that, “We know that domestic violence and abuse can include physical, emotional, psychological and also financial abuse.”

Not being a father myself, this sentence is what most caught my attention. I realised that DV included both physical and emotional abuse, but it had never occurred to me that a court might pay attention to psychological and FINANCIAL abuse. Clearly these SHOULD be considered by a judge — but are they? And what is the burden of proof? In a new twist on the, “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine”, would a wife who almost never contributed anything to the housekeeping for years, despite having a well-paid job, count as abusing her husband financially? Would scheming to relieve him of even more of his assets, simply by divorcing him, as she probably planned, count?

In the first scenario, as described by Paul Apreda, the attempt is made to covert righteousness. In the second, “righteousness” receives short shrift. But greed is leaking out every joint.

Paul Apreda - February 6, 2017 at 12:15pm

Thanks Ned – you raise a number of useful points. The Cross Governmental definition of Domestic Violence and Abuse is here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-violence-and-abuse
In terms of the ‘burden of proof’ that is the balance of probability

Susan - February 4, 2017 at 8:01pm

As Paul Apreda is short of research facts, I thought this might help him out…
“Overall, fathers were significantly more likely to kill their children than mothers, and were more likely to use violent methods of killing, have previous convictions for violent offences, perpetrate multiple killings, and have a history of substance misuse or dependence. Of the 297 total filicide cases recorded during the 10 year period, the study found 13% of perpetrators took their own life after killing their child, known as filicide-suicide.” Taken from this study ….
Experts from The University of Manchester have revealed their findings from the most in-depth study ever to take place in the UK into the tragic instances of child killing by parents, known as filicide. The research, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found 37 per cent of parents and step-parents who killed their children were suffering from some form of mental illness and 12% had been in contact with mental health services within a year of the offence.

Academics from the University’s Institute of Brain Behaviour and Mental Health analysed 297cases of convicted filicide and 45 cases of filicide-suicides in England and Wales occurring between January 1997 and December 2006 from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCI) — a longitudinal national case series of all homicides in the UK, with particular focus on perpetrators with mental illness. The scope of the NCI’s clinical dataset enabled analysis of filicide to take place in greater detail than other epidemiological studies.

alain williams - February 5, 2017 at 11:56am

The domestic violence epidemic that I see is one of false allegations, predominantly by women. There is good reason for this.
* a claim of domestic violence is the only way of getting Legal Aid
* it quickly removes father from the home. By the time that the claim is found to be false a status quo has been established where the kids live with mother and dad has little contact. Thus mother gets the kids and the lion’s share of the money.
* thanks to the successful misinformation campaign by Women’s Aid, it is likely to be initially believed and thus a worth while tactic.
Research shows that both sexes can (& are) violent but this is not something that figures greatly in most divorces – just some shouting and door slamming. Choosing to focus on the dramatic few results in great injustice on the non violent majority of fathers – which seems to be the feminist goal.
Time for rational, real evidence based restraint.

keith - February 5, 2017 at 2:35pm

Well said. 100% agree.

JamesB - February 6, 2017 at 5:40pm

This is true and this manipulation of the law (as my ex did) disgusts me and it needs to change as it is bringing the law into disrepute and it especially disgusts me on behalf of the real victims of domestic abuse both women and men who find it harder to get support apart from the loud chattering middle class entitlement queens blathering on about why their husband needs to get lost but leave them the money and by the way they were an abuser throughout the relationship, just ask my friends. Nonsense and damaging to all. Hence why the law was changed to stop them getting more on financial relief as they were pushing that dodgy line there. Now they have to be maimed for life for DV to be considered and is a very high barrier.

Leave the DV claims for the real sufferers to get the help they need please.

Nigel Pankhurst - February 7, 2017 at 2:42pm

I agree, the real victims are lost in false statistics and so the real victims will be taken less seriously. This then kills the system of helping the right people as so many others that aren’t victims use up resources meant for them. One can only assume that while there is little they will do for men, they do a lot for women. So maybe if they irradicated the false claims early on, men and women who have been victims of domestic violence would all have more funds to get the help they need. Ideaology admittedly but we can only hope!

keith - February 7, 2017 at 3:20pm

A lot of Solicitors and Barristers simply dont do a good enough job defending their clients and challenging unfounded allegations in the family courts and i would suspect many of them fear the family court judges. in my experience of the family courts for almost two yrs i saw no teeth at all. they seem scared to aggressively challenge experts and especially judges who defend experts or Social workers.
this is why justice is not being done in the family courts. the defence teams just dont have the Grit and courage to challenge what they know they should. i was so frustrated i felt like standing up in court and doing it myself.
Solicitors should also employ investigators to go out and do some footwork and gather any relevant evidence that could help in the case.
Einstein once said – you cant make progress by doing things in the same old way. im with Mr E.

JamesB - February 6, 2017 at 5:44pm

Plus I would rather my daughters treat men with respect then play the stupid feminist line and if they do I will be disowning them. I like to think I am bringing them up better than that and teaching them how to cook and think properly also, the feminist entitlement line like ‘what child support am I entitled to’ is pushing a bad line and bad starting place. Get together and sort your problems out together. Pulling the government in to the bedroom should be a last resort which has been overused to the detriment of society since the introduction of the pill in the 60s. None of this stupid game playing time it was put an end to.

Nigel Pankhurst - February 7, 2017 at 1:20am

Being a man, also being brought up to respect all human beings and having a family name of a famous feminist I would like to agree with most of what’s been said by Paul and the other comments.
I myself was a victim of a coercive, abusive and alcoholic female partner and yet the moment I attempted to leave that was it, arrested for DV and kicked out of my home. As soon as i applied for court well you can guess! DV! Buts that’s all I’ll say to that!
Then weeks later I was run over by the ex. She got a fine and I am left with long term knee and shoulder damage!
I now help with an FNF group and to be honest all these false allegations come thick and fast.
And the balance of probability doesn’t help the cause either.
Then you have CAFCASS and Social Services no matter what proof a man has, once a man is accused without evidence mud sticks. Believe me you are tarred and feathered and you can’t overturn there reports!
So clearly the system needs parity and clarification as to whether we follow a law or we simply ignore it and commit men to eternal damnation.
But the question is what then happens with the children? Who is really looking out for them. Or we simply going to have a fatherless society? Just sperm donors and cash points? How is this good for the children? What role models are we giving out future generations?
And my last question would be what do we do about the rise in suicides by men with a huge number dying needlessly because of long family court issues and CSA debts they can ill afford. Since when was it right to take so much from one person so that this person can no longer afford to live just to pay another?

JamesB - February 7, 2017 at 1:01pm

Are you related to Emily Pankhurst at all / distant relative?

JamesB - February 7, 2017 at 1:25pm

Actually, I meant Emmeline Pankhurst, any relation of yours?

Nigel Pankhurst - February 7, 2017 at 2:33pm

Yes, distant and that’s the catch we can’t find the last link as records are scetchy. We think she was an aunt but again very hard to prove. All records go back to the right area. So that’s as far as I can claim!

JamesB - February 7, 2017 at 3:58pm

Thanks for the reply.

wistilia - February 7, 2017 at 9:43am

The ‘reality’ is that mothers kill or harm far more children than fathers.

So to protect children, the family courts need to look at ‘both’ parents actions closely to put children ‘first and foremost’:

The vast majority of children who are killed each year in this country, are killed by their mothers.
210 children dying of abuse every 16 months in England.

3 Children a week killed by parents (Mothers primarily) in England – 210 children every 16 months
independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/three-children-a-week-ndash-the-death-toll-from-abuse-1061272.html

Mothers kill 25% more children than any other group, Table 4–4 Child Fatalities Page 61 of link http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm2013.pdf

Killers of children:
Mother’s were involved in the killing of their children 61.4% of fatality cases
Father’s were involved in the killing of their children 39% of fatality cases
Father – 15.3%
Father and Other – 1.7%
Mother – 26.4%
Mother and Other – 13.0%
Mother and Father – 22.0%
Non-parents – 13.4%
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm11.pdf#page=69

Maltreatment of children:
Single Mother’s maltreated children over twice as much as separated Fathers according to the 2011 figures.
Nearly two-fifths (36.8%) of victims were maltreated by their mother acting alone.
One-fith (19.0%) of victims were maltreated by their father acting alone.
Mother involved in 61.4% of maltreatment of children cases.
Father involved in 37.99% of maltreatment of children cases.
Father – 19.0%
Father and Other – 0.9%
Mother – 36.8%
Mother and Other – 5.7%
Mother and Father – 18.9%
Non-parents – 12.8%
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm11.pdf#page=80

JamesB - February 7, 2017 at 3:54pm

Cheers.

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